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Innovative website to support bowel cancer patients and educate staff

A web-based suite of educational resources has been developed by a consultant surgeon in Merthyr Tydfil to support patients through complex illnesses.

Prof P.N. Haray, consultant surgeon and professor ofcoloproctology at Prince Charles Hospital, Merthyr Tydfil, designed the website, which also offers guidance to nurses, medical students, junior doctors and surgical trainees.

The site at digi-medical.co.uk/merthyr_colorectal has been produced in collaboration with David Brown, producer of medical media at Digimed®.

The resource is divided into a section for patients, carers and families who are coming to terms with the difficult diagnosis they have been given.

The ‘Patient Journey’ helps them to understand the tests and procedures they may follow and aims to demystify the process.

None of those appearing in the videos on the site are actors. They all work at or were treated at the Prince Charles Hospital, making this a reliable and more effective information tool.

‘Enhanced Recovery after Surgery’ is another resource designed for the patient to understand the process, so that they can benefit before, during and after their hospital stay.

‘Stepwise’ is for clinicians and is a step by step approach to laparoscopic colorectal surgery for bowel cancer and includes a huge amount of tips and what to look out for during difficult and complex cases.

This unique resource can help clinicians develop their own surgical skills in this discipline.

‘Colorectal Procedures’ is a useful interactive tool for both patient and clinician alike.

The patient can get a better understanding of their tumour position and how it will be dealt with while the clinician can use information during patient consultation as well as for education of students.

Pioneering work by the colorectal department in Prince Charles Hospital had previously created ground-breaking Apps in collaboration with Digimed®to provide world-wide access to a range of unique products.

In 2008, the team won the National Patient Experience Network award for the first patient information DVD for the diagnosis, treatment and follow up of colorectal disease.

The DVDs were updated in 2012 and as technology changed, they were followed by the pioneering Apps in 2013/14.

Now the information is available via the web.

Prof Haray said:

“This educational resource is unique in providing both patient and staff education on the same topics.

“The site has been deliberately designed to allow addition of new sections as well as updating existing ones and new material is already being prepared.

“I am very proud of this achievement which has been a culmination of over a decade of collaborative work between the technical expertise of Digimed® and the clinical team at Prince Charles Hospital.”